Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics

Archive for May, 2005

Speak Up: The Promise of Girls’ Education

Posted by shannonclark on May 27, 2005

Speak Up: The Promise of Girls’ Education

I left the following comment, which will be posted eventually I think, about the importance of woman’s education.

Richard,

Yout should take a look at Prof. Jeffery Sachs’ recent book “The End of Poverty” and the work of the Earth Institute he heads up at Columbia (http://www.earth.columbia.edu). He specifically talks about the importance of female eduction in the developing world and adds to your list of reasons that educating woman (and more generally helping children survive childhood) leads to lower fertility rates and reduction of population growth from rates that are currently doubling populations in very short periods to more sustainable levels.

He also adds to the importance of School Lunches by way of a story he tells of one school, I think in Kenya, where prior to instituting school lunches they were ranked ~110th out of 200 schools in the region. After just adding school lunches for the 8th grade they raised their school ranking (on the basis of national tests) to 2nd in the region. Prof. Sachs is working with NGO’s to extend the school lunch program there to all grades.

Thomas P. M. Barnett in his books and writings also emphasizes the critical importance of woman’s education on closing the gap between countries. Countries where girls get an education and woman have rights and opportunities tend to move forward in many other areas (environment, development, stability).

Shannon

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Project Syndicate

Posted by shannonclark on May 26, 2005

I recently found Project Syndicate (http://www.project-syndicate.org/contributor/2). To quote from their about us page:

“Project Syndicate is an international association of quality newspapers devoted
to:
bringing distinguished voices from across the world to local audiences
everywhere; strengthening the independence of printed media in transition and
developing countries; upgrading their journalistic, editorial, and business
capacities. Project Syndicate currently consists of 235 newspapers in 111
countries, with a total circulation of 38,241,201 copies. Its activities fall
into three broad categories:
disseminating the highest quality commentaries
and analysis to its member papers; fostering institutional links among member
papers; Project Syndicate is a not-for-profit institution. Financial
contributions from member papers in developed countries support the services
provided free by Project Syndicate to members in less advanced economies.
Additional support comes from the Open Society Institute, Politiken Foundation
and Die Zeit Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius Foundation. “

Contributors include Prof. Jeffery Sachs of Columbia among many other distinguished thought leaders. It looks to be something which the blogosphere should (and could) use as a source, and given the very global scope definitely should be looked at by the Global Voices programs at the Berkman center etc.

They have an rss feed at http://www.project-syndicate.org/ps.rss

Here’s the link for their member papers – in 46 different languages and 111 countries (http://www.project-syndicate.org/member_papers)

From their notes on prospective members, the following bit about translation struck me as something many people would find interesting:

“Distribution
Project Syndicate distributes its columns via
email.
Translation: Project Syndicate offers translations of its commentaries
into Arabic, Chinese, Czech, French, German, Russian, and Spanish. While we
strive for the highest quality of the translations, we provide these
translations as a courtesy only and always note that the English text is the
sole authoritative version. Feedback on the quality of our translations is
always welcome and helps us maintain and improve their quality.”

Looks like a great project and one the “blogosphere” should link to and support.

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Plazes and Working in Cafes

Posted by shannonclark on May 24, 2005

I have added Plazes to my home page for this blog. A modification of my “Working in Cafes” plan, if the WIFI goes out at one caf, as it did this morning, I’ll move to another here in Evanston and update my location via Plazes. I’ll also look at using a service like Jambo, however I like the wide ranging yet useful aspect of Plazes.

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www.podcatch.com : Essay on media and podcasting

Posted by shannonclark on May 24, 2005

www.podcatch.com has a short essay from Dave Winer about watching what you are agreeing to when signing a contract with a media exec.

My comments are about the possible model of Oprah.

A model that might be looked at is Oprah.
i.e. if you manage to do the following trifecta, you can collect big:

– Generate a large, passionate, ongoing audience (which stays with the station/channel who air you giving them an incentive and value to supporting you)

– Own the content yourself and negotiate for a significent portion of the advertising revenue (and ideally manage a mix of local/national advertising)

– Continue to add other content and outlets, as well as maintaining a strong brand and connection to your audience.

Shannon

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BP Crosses a Line – Tom Peters Blog

Posted by shannonclark on May 24, 2005

Another post from the Tom Peter’s Blog: “BP Crosses A Line”.

I left a long comment here as well.

This also makes for an even more short term focus.

One of the major roles of the media, historically, has been to spark and foster debate. Coverage of many issues has started with an initial report, perhaps full of inaccuracies or errors, which then over time is reacted to, corrected, and refined getting a bit closer to “the truth” but also importantly fostering public knowledge of and debate about the issues (and the facts).

If we are entering an era when most media from the blogosphere (see Apple’s lawsuit) to major newspapers and magazines to TV think only of the immediate, short term, initial reactions to everything they write about – then we are unlikely to see ongoing support for investigative research, or coverage of anything which can not both be simplified to a single story and vetted by advertisers. Small bastions may remain in the publications supported by foundations or interested groups (Mother Jones, Unte, New Yorker on the Left, other publications on the right) but their circulations are a far cry from the New York Times or the reach even now of Network TV news.

Shannon

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Death To All Panel Sessions: Corante > Get Real >

Posted by shannonclark on May 24, 2005

Death To All Panel Sessions: Corante > Get Real >

I left a long comment about MeshForum and what we did for MeshForum 2005 as a response to Stowe Boyd’s rant about bad conferences.

We tried to address some of these issues at MeshForum 2005 (http://www.meshforum.org)

A few things we did which seemed to work.

– spent a lot of time planning and thinking about the speakers and the order of the speakers to help reinforce each other and minimally overlap

– brought together a mix of speakers – academics, business professionals, consultants, military experts

– though we did have a bit more PowerPoint than I would like to see at future MeshForums, most speakers were introducing new ideas, had a lot of content, and were given enough time to get their ideas across

– we scheduled speakers for a significent amount of Q&A and had an audience capable of asking great questions without giving mini-speeches.

– MeshForum 2005 was a single track – so everyone attending saw and heard the same speakers. We also had a majority of speakers who attended for the whole conference and thus had heard the speakers before them, brought their talks into their own presentations, and were able to later interact with later speakers

– Held the conference outside of the “usual” venues (not a hotel, not a resort, not an auditorium). The flatness of the space with just a low stage, yet a slightly elevated section allowing for great sightlines for everyone, led to a sense of connectedness to the speakers and easy interaction

– We incorporated meals and evening events into the conference, this was critical to allowing people to interact, truly network, and follow up with questions and thoughts for future action

– We ended the conference with an entire day in Open Space. This format allowed for a fully interactive workshop – everyone who attends that portion of the conference sets their own agenda, picks the topics they want to work on. Though smaller than the full conference, the workshop led directly to lots of future action and helped translate the conference environment into one that will lead to ongoing, continuing interactions and relationships.

I welcome feedback about what we did this year and how we can hold the best conference possible next year (our plan is for May 7-9 again here in Chicago), we hope Corante can once again be a sponsor and be an even more active and involved sponsor this year. 🙂

thanks,

Shannon

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Tom Peters’s blog on Selling (Out) Broadway reprise

Posted by shannonclark on May 24, 2005

Selling (Out) Broadway reprise

I left my longest comment yet on the Tom Peter’s blog:

As a writer myself, I find this trend a mixed one – I certainly see the branding value of what people at Springwise/Trendwatching (http://www.trendwatching.com) call “branded brands” – i.e. the use of one brand (Broadway, Hollywood, TV shows) to promote another brand (though in fairness to Springwise, they focused on branded products using other branded products such as Smuckers Jam as an ingrediant in another item).

But like the all pervasive use of 555-####’s for phone numbers in the media, brands are rapidly becoming signs and reminders of what (and who) paid for the show, and in their all to often blurred state indications of who did not.

If you watch most of TV you see a very removed version of “reality” – the only brands visible on most shows, especially on a network like MTV, are those brands who paid to be there (or much less often brands that weren’t seen yet as brands). The cast of most reality TV wear shirts not with actual logos but with made up slogans or catch phrases, the kitchens are full only of specific products, even scenes of “reality” are filtered and blurred.

It is a small item, but it is also a grating one – it shows how divorced our creative products have become from the reality we all experience. Who knows, perhaps this will lead to a generation who demands clothes and items without brands. 🙂

On a more serious note however, by adding an assumption that “visible brand == payment” it raises new issues of the chinese wall. It is one thing for the supporters of a show to be mostly anonymous to the show itself (clips mixed in, occasionally “sponsored by” messages as in early Radio and TV) but as the brands become an active part of the experience of the show they clearly have the strong potential to influence the show itself.

Further, I wonder how this will change our view of history over time. Plays are studied usually by reference to the text – does this sponsorship “change” the text of Simon’s play as performed elsewhere, or just for this run (I assume just for this run). On TV will future reruns (or DVD boxed sets) have logos from brands which fail. Technically I suspect that some shows at least may substitute one brand for another for future reruns (or market segmentation, I think some live sporting events show different ads based on the audience, inserted electronically and not visible to people attending the game)

As well, what happens to the next piece sponsored by a future Enron, Worldcom, or Tyco? We’ve begun to see this as sports stadiums get renamed/rebranded, but as brands work their way further into all entertainment (and increasingly only there if payments changed hands) this problem will be one that happens with greater frequency.

A great topic.

Shannon

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IFTF’s Future Now: Google Alerts and keywords of the future

Posted by shannonclark on May 24, 2005

IFTF’s Future Now: Google Alerts and keywords of the future

I left a long comment.

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IFTF’s Future Now: Google Alerts and keywords of the future

Posted by shannonclark on May 24, 2005

IFTF’s Future Now: Google Alerts and keywords of the future

I added a long comment about this idea of using Google alerts – my thought being to look at somehow using Amazon.com’s SIP’s as well.

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Don Park’s Daily Habit – Role-Bloggers

Posted by shannonclark on May 22, 2005

Don Park’s Daily Habit – Role-Bloggers

I left a short comment about the World of Darkness.

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